Join the hundreds of other businesses in the North West investing in their employees using the Apprenticeship scheme. Below are just a few of our recent success stories from both our employers and apprentices.


Hear from our employer partners – videos and case studies

Cutting Edge Logo

Cutting Edge 

What benefits have you/your team found to employing an apprentice & how do they help build your business?

Employing apprentices has certainly helped us improve, introducing a broader range of skills for the company. It encourages us to analyse the way in which our business operates, helping us to identify strengths and weaknesses we may not traditionally identify in our normal day-to-day operation. The scheme not only helps with knowledge and skill transfer, it also assists in the development of existing employees who need to adapt in sharing their experiences more openly. As such, the scheme benefits both the apprentice and Cutting Edge Services.

Apprentices often have a fresh approach, with new ideas and solutions, helping us to lay the foundations for new initiatives which help build the business and move forward. Our ‘Employee Voice’ group encourages the younger member of our team to share a forum on how the culture can also evolve. Apprentices form part of this vitally important group. The success of our Apprentice Schemes significantly contributed towards Cutting Edge Service winning the Runshaw College 2019 ‘Employee of the Year’ award – a fitting tribute to the time and effort we devote to our scheme.

What key skills and knowledge do your apprentices gain to help them build a rewarding career?

Key skills start at the beginning. Good timekeeping, great communication skills and enthusiasm. We try and make the apprenticeship as varied as possible at the start by covering all basic engineering skills and knowledge. This allows us to then work together to identify the key aspect of engineering they enjoy and would like to pursue in more detail. From mechanical, electrical, design to robotic engineering, we play a part in building this interest so they can accomplish a rewarding career with an area of engineering they are most suited to.

What would you say to anyone considering an Apprenticeship in your sector?

Do It! Apprentices bring a fresh approach along with the use of new solutions and modern technology.  We have taken apprentices on into full term employment and continue to use an apprenticeship scheme year after year. With the required training delivered throughout their apprentices, these individuals are ready to go on the ‘front line’ upon successful completion.

Can you sum up in a sentence what the best thing about Apprenticeships are?

Apprenticeships can bring a fresh and innovative approach to any business, as well as aiding individuals towards recognised qualifications and strong experiences to help enhance their career.

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NR Barton Chartered Accountants

What benefits have you/your team found to employing an apprentice & how do they help build your business?

They help improve productivity and efficiencies. Our experienced staff delegate work down allowing more time to concentrate on other core responsibilities. Cost effective training ensuring they adapt the specific skills required by our firm. We teach them our way right from day one. Employer brand – we are a forward-thinking organisation investing in the young generation, which is deemed attractive to new apprentices. Introducing apprentices to the workplace, has changed the dynamics of the team as they bring different insights and new ways of thinking/working which has revitalised the whole team.

What key skills and knowledge do your apprentices gain to help them build a rewarding career?

At our firm they gain a lot of major skills required for a great career: Communication skills – gained with both colleagues and clients. Teamwork – They learn to work as part of a team reporting to managers effectively. Organisation/time management – working to monthly deadlines helps with this. Problem solving and self-reliance skills. Numeracy skills Professionalism

What would you say to anyone considering an Apprenticeship in your sector?

We would highly recommend accountancy firms taking on apprentices. These young adults are the future of accountants. Once trained with the skills required, they become great assets of the firm. They bring fresh perspectives and new skills.

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Red Rose Care

What benefits have you/your team found to employing an apprentice & how do they help build your business?

Career development for staff, gaining valuable and up to date information, knowledge and skills to enhance their role. Promotes best practice and highly skilled and motivated staff in the business. The skilled staff can train other staff and share their knowledge and skills. Families and clients have confidence in the workforce, they value the business and feel the business invests in the staff, to aim for thew provision of a high quality service Highly skilled and trained staff adheres to meeting quality standards, CQC regulations.

What key skills and knowledge do your apprentices gain to help them build a rewarding career?

Promotes the value of excellent communication skills at all levels, multi- agency in health and social care. Appreciate the value of person- centred care, being able to adapt to meet individual health and social care needs. Gain a plethora of information and skills in caring for individuals in their own homes, the family dynamics, practical skills as; moving and handling techniques, Infection prevention and control, personal care, basic first aid awareness, dementia care. The staff member can then choose a specialist area they are interested in and enhance the role of the champion or lead.

What would you say to anyone considering an Apprenticeship in your sector?

Apprenticeships are Highly promoted and supported by mentors and senior staff / management support, who share lots of expertise, skills, knowledge and information. Apprenticeships benefit all, the business to have highly trained and skilled staff, individual continuous learning journey, lots of opportunities to develop if you want to, to meet your career goals and aspirations. Developing business, lots opportunities for the future, lead areas, trainers, seniors, management, administration roles.

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Red Tiger Consulting

What benefits have you/your team found to employing an apprentice & how do they help build your business?

Meg was brought in as the first employee to our small recruitment consultancy business to help with administration and marketing tasks.  Over a period of 4 months Meg has been able to get fully up to speed on many aspects of these tasks to a point where she is self-sufficient in all the areas she works on now.  As a small business it has meant that she has done tasks we used to de-prioritise (even though they are vital to growing our business) which means our marketing (And hence pipeline business) and our candidate CRM database has improved significantly.

What key skills and knowledge do your apprentices gain to help them build a rewarding career?

Meg has learnt about the various marketing channels we use (Email shots, LinkedIn and Twitter posts), she has learnt how to navigate our CRM system (Bullhorn) and is now starting to manage the administration (From advertising to fielding questions to booking and invoicing) of our Microsoft Excel training courses. Meg is also learning about the financial side of a small business and how we operate and manage the businesses finances.  Meg also attended and passed our Microsoft Excel Training course. Meg also has a good grasp of recruitment business and how we operate.

What would you say to anyone considering an Apprenticeship in your sector?

I would thoroughly recommend getting an apprentice, if you get the right one (Like we have) you will reap the rewards of the extra resource.

Can you sum up in a sentence what the best thing about Apprenticeships are?

If you get the right role as an apprentice, I feel that you can learn a lot more from the practical experience that an apprenticeship gives you than if you were full time at college in lessons/lectures.

Lancashire County Council Logo

Stephen Young

Director of  Environment, Transport & Community Services at Lancashire County Council

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Andrew Roe

Production Manager & Head of Tomato Production at Flavour Fresh

Robertson Construction

Robertson Construction

Hear from our Apprentices – Case Studies

Alice Abraham Photo

Alice Abraham – Level 3 Business Administrator Apprenticeship

What made you decide to come to Runshaw?

I decided to complete my apprenticeship with Runshaw as I had heard lots of positive comments from previous learners and I had a great experience with Runshaw when completing my A levels.

Why are you doing this apprenticeship?

I did A levels and got a place at uni, but it wasn’t for me. I got an email from Runshaw after signing up to the apprenticeship team. They are great at keeping you up to date with vacancies.

What do you like about your apprenticeship?

This apprenticeship gives me a great opportunity to learn new things that relate to the job. I feel I am progressing each day. I started in customer service, but now have a permanent role in events. My employer is very helpful and has suggested other courses for me within the council once I finish my apprenticeship. This is great for my progression. I started on the council scale payroll which was great, and I get a lot of support at work.

How has your trainer helped support your studies?

The trainer came into the workplace to discuss how the apprenticeship works and now due to Covid, we have our meetings on Teams, which works really well. If there is ever a problem, the trainer is there to help.

What are your goals/ambitions/future career aims?

I would like to progress my career at the council and hoping be able to complete further learning and training.

What has been your most memorable moment at Runshaw?

Having the opportunity to attend Runshaw’s Apprenticeships Awards and being awarded a student of the course certificate.

What would you recommend about Runshaw to a friend?

Yes! My advice would be to contact Runshaw and see what vacancies they have.

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Charlene Scarff – Business Administrator Apprenticeship

What made you decide to come to Runshaw?

I was doing voluntary work at the council and out of the blue an apprenticeship role came up via Runshaw.

Why are you doing this apprenticeship?

Being a first time mum and juggling work, childcare and college always put me off the idea of doing an apprenticeship but I’ve never looked back since starting my apprenticeship with Runshaw College. They have been great support all the way through whilst juggling life, finding work and life balance. Flexibility is what I needed and what I received!!

What do you like about your apprenticeship?

The programme is so much more flexible than I thought it would be. It is sometimes difficult to balance home and work, but the flexibility of the apprenticeship really helps. There is great support from Runshaw and my employer. The trainers are really supportive and helpful.

I really enjoy helping people – my role involves speaking with people in crisis and assessing them.

How has your trainer helped support your studies?

The trainer has been really understanding and always responsive.

What would you recommend about Runshaw to a friend?

Runshaw worked for me! I would say, don’t be put off if you are a single parent. The balance of home, work and learning can be difficult, but with support, it is definitely worthwhile pursing an apprenticeship at Runshaw.

Helena Heald

Helena Heald – Level 3 Business Administrator Apprenticeship

What Made you Decide to Come to Runshaw?

I decided to come back to Runshaw as I previously studied my A Levels here and had a very positive experience at the College both academically and in terms of support and wellbeing. Runshaw College has a great reputation and I had heard that it was a good place to work, which I can now confirm!

Why did you Choose this Apprenticeship?

The Business Administration apprenticeship was a way for me to gain a practical and transferable qualification whilst gaining work experience and earning money. This apprenticeship appealed to me as I am gaining experience in different areas from marketing to finance.

What do you Like about your Apprenticeship?

I like the experience I am gaining in different areas and the range of skills that I am learning. Every day is different during an apprenticeship, especially starting during a pandemic, but support is consistent, and I am lucky to be part of a brilliant team!

How has your Trainer Helped Support you?

With regular reviews and feedback, my trainer has helped to support me by answering any questions I have about my apprenticeship and has helped me to improve my work. Feedback on assignments is very detailed and by following guidance given.

What are your Future Career Aims?

In the short-term, I would like to achieve my L3 Business Administration qualification and secure a permanent position at Runshaw College. In the long-term, I would like to continually progress and possibly gain higher qualifications such as in Advice and Guidance, Marketing or any other relevant areas.

What has Been Your Most Memorable Moment at Runshaw?

I would say, meeting my colleagues virtually due to the pandemic. It was a different experience starting a new job remotely, but my team were very friendly and helpful.

Would you recommend Runshaw to a friend?

Runshaw is known as an outstanding College with high academic attainment but it is the friendly atmosphere and support that I would recommend to a friend. Support is always available if you need it, which allows you to get the most out your education no matter what you are studying or what your background is.

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Sophie Turner – Level 3 Digital Marketer Apprenticeship

Why did you Choose This Apprenticeship?

After studying for a qualification in Travel and Tourism at Runshaw College, I went to work in Canada where I enjoyed taking photos. I decided that my photography skills would be useful in pursuing a career in digital marketing. I saw a Digital Marketing apprentice vacancy that Runshaw College were advertising, so I applied and got it!

Where are you Working?

I am now working as a Business Engagement Assistant at South Ribble Borough Council. They are a great employer to work for and I have gained a lot of confidence, skills AND a qualification. It’s great that you can work and train at the same time. People are very supportive, and I don’t think I would have had this level of support if I had gone to university.

What do you Like about your Apprenticeship?

I think it’s important to say how well I have been integrated into the workplace. There is a stereotype that apprentices may be treated differently, but this certainly hasn’t been the case in my experience!

This job has really opened my eyes to how good apprenticeships are. I learn something different every day. When I finish my apprenticeship, I will have been working for 2 years and I will have a qualification, that I haven’t had to pay for.

How does Your Trainer Support You?

My trainer has been very supportive, and I can reach out at any time and get a response. Covid has not made contact between myself and my tutor difficult, as we have 1-1 meetings on Zoom. There are a lot of interactive activities and plenty of revision sessions. It is made to be fun and gives you a lot of knowledge.

How Would you Sum Up Being an Apprentice?

I am made to feel the same as all the other employees at the Council and would say that being an apprentice just means I am part of the Team. The role brings something different every day and my managers are very approachable and helpful.

Hear from our Apprentices – Where are they now?

Thomas Astley Photo

Thomas Astley – Former Business Admin Level 2 Apprentice

An apprenticeship is a great opportunity to learn foundation skills for my career. It was an opportunity to find out what I wanted to do and make steps toward my future, one being a business degree. The apprenticeship was the starting block for my career path, now working for the NHS. During the apprenticeship, I received lots of support from the team at Runshaw. I didn’t feel abandoned as an apprentice and it was a great tool to progress my career.

Best Thing About Being an Apprentice?

Knowing that I would get the skills and progression leading to a permanent role. After earning a low wage for the first part of my apprenticeship, my wage increased, and I was earning good money for a 19-year-old, full-time hours with a steady income. It is important to remember that once you progress into a full-time job, your wage will improve. An apprenticeship was a great starting block for my career, it gave me the skills I needed to progress.

Advice to a New Apprentice?

Get the most out of your apprenticeship. The skills you learn in combination with the experience on the job and your qualification will move you forward in your chosen career. An apprenticeship shows employers demonstrable knowledge, skills and experience in your chosen field.

My Route to my Current Job

I started off in a local engineering firm doing basic admin tasks and then moved to a supported living care company where I expanded my experience into recruitment and HR admin. I worked for this company for a few years also gaining experience in rotas and payroll. Toward the end of my degree, I started in the NHS Midlands and Lancashire Commissioning Support Unit as an admin assistant within the corporate finance team, I worked on an audit in a niche area and also supported the contracting team. I was involved with reworking performance reports for the board which then received positive feedback from NHS England. I also supported with early work on automation, finding ways to auto-generate some reports, documents and information. I have worked in the health service for just over 3 years now, and it is a brilliant organisation to work for.

I decided that in the long term, I wanted to work in operational management, so I pursued a role in a hospital as personal assistant to surgical division management, this role exposed me to some of the inner functioning of acute services and helped me to identify the skills and experiences I needed to further my career progression.

Leading to my current role as an Interstitial Lung Disease (ILD) MDT co-ordinator, based at Royal Preston Hospital where I provide admin support to the clinical team, virtually following patients through pathways of care and reducing delays. I am supporting a team across 3 NHS Trusts in setting up and developing new regional service that will have a positive impact on the patients with ILD.

I am undertaking a master’s degree in law, as I think this will be useful in future roles in operational management. Eventually I would like to be an Operations Director in the NHS, ambitious! But I am committed and nothing will stop me reaching my goal!

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Harriet Waring – Former Business Admin and Customer Service Apprentice

Apprenticeships are so important as they provide real work experience and give options for career progression. It’s easy to follow the crowd and go to college, but it is not for everyone. Apprenticeships let you ‘see’ business in the real world.

There is a stigma that apprenticeships are just for 16 years olds, but there are many apprentices in their twenties and older. Doing a qualification alongside a job taught me so many transferable skills. After achieving my Business Administration and Customer Service qualifications, I took my assessor’s qualification to become a Duke of Edinburgh Basic Expedition Leader. This also allowed me to assess participants and to mentor and support apprentices.

I work at Ashton Community Science College, where I started my apprenticeship.  This gave me the work experience and organisational skills that helped me progress from an office junior to the school events organiser and then a business support officer. Sport England then recruited me as a School Games Organiser overlooking 91 schools.

My apprenticeship changed me as a person. I enjoyed the independence of working and getting more confident. It opened up vast opportunities in employment for me, getting varied experience and people skills.

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Amy Stringfellow – Former Business Admin and Customer Service Apprentice

I knew I didn’t want to continue in full-time education and was eager to get into the real world. I wanted to work in an office environment and earn money. I wasn’t sure what area I wanted to work in, so I found an apprenticeship through Runshaw College as an office assistant at a firm of solicitors. I quickly moved onto being a receptionist and then a case handler for Road Traffic Accidents. I completed my apprenticeship after 2 years.

After six years at the solicitors, I moved to a bigger practice, where I started as a Litigation Executive. The company part-funded the remainder of my CILEx (The Chartered Institute of Legal Executives) exams as I was learning on the job. The great advantage of an apprenticeship is all the years’ experience you get whilst earning. Undergraduates will have had little or no experience on graduation and student debt for their training. I have been gaining experience, earning and getting my qualifications paid for! I have now been with this firm for over 7 years and have reached the position of FCILEx / Supervisor.

The company increased my wage after getting my first qualification. This shows how you can progress quickly if you work hard.

An apprenticeship is the best decision I have ever made. Deciding not to carry on in full-time education and starting work as an apprentice has set me up well and stood me in good stead. It has also given me a good work ethic from a young age.

St Catherine’s Hospice benefits from talented Apprentices

Lostock Hall-based charity, St Catherine’s Hospice, employs several Apprentices across various areas of the organisation.

Alex Cook, 17, is currently working as an Apprentice Chef and is completing a Level 2 Professional Cookery qualification via Runshaw.

Having worked at the hospice for the past year, Alex said: “I was attracted to St Catherine’s by the diversity of the position, as the job includes outside catering for events and working in The Mill Café that is open to the public, as well as cooking for patients. I have learned a lot about time management and how to adapt to working in different kitchens. It’s the best decision I ever made and I hope one day to be a Head Chef with my own restaurant.”

Nicola Hanmer, Commercial Catering Manager at St Catherine’s Hospice and The Mill, recommends apprenticeship schemes to other employers for the benefits they can bring to the organisation as well as the individual.

Nicola said: “Apprenticeships are a great way of plugging any skills gaps you might have in your business. The on-the-job training allows you the flexibility and freedom to mould and shape your apprentices in the areas you want your business to develop, at the same time as opening up new opportunities for that person. We pride ourselves on being full and active members of our local community and investing in Apprenticeships is another way we do this. We are pleased to be able to offer apprenticeship opportunities here and would certainly recommend it to other employers.”

Meaningful career for Business Apprentice at national charity

Mawdesley-based charity, The Legacy Rainbow House, are reaping the benefits of a successful Apprentice candidate.

Amber Mitchell, 21, has been working as a Community Fundraiser at the organisation since 2014. In July last year, Amber commenced a Level 3 Business Administration Apprenticeship via Runshaw.

Her skills as a fundraiser have seen Amber progress quickly within her role and combined with her business skills training she has gained the confidence to take on more ambitious projects. Amber successfully organised a Sportsmen’s Dinner for 120 guests at Ewood Park in September. The event included a three course meal and was hosted by guest speaker Paul Merson, former England and Arsenal footballer. The evening received significant local press coverage and raised vital funds for Rainbow House.

Charity Manager, Hayley Scholes, said: “As an organisation we have always had Apprentices but when we met Amber she really stood out. She’s a natural and quickly got involved with the fundraising. We wouldn’t usually expect an Apprentice to take on a large event but the Sportsmen’s Dinner Amber organised was a huge success for us.”

Hayley continued: “We have worked with Runshaw for years and have a great relationship. Amber’s tutor Meg has been fantastic and we have a great line of communication with them. I would say to anyone to give an Apprentice a go, they bring in new skills and fresh ideas to push your business forward. The programme offers excellent support to both the young person and the business.”

Runshaw Apprentice wins Screentek International award

Apprentice Dan Dearden has been recognised and praised by his employers.

Dan won the Rookie of the Year Award at Screentek International‘s inaugural staff award ceremony, The Screenies.

Peter Cross, Screentek International’s Marketing Manager, said: “The Rookie of the Year was decided by a panel and awarded to the person we deemed the hardest working new member of staff, and as such Daniel was not only judged against the other Apprentices but all members of staff who started in 2015.”

“This category was a really tough one to judge as we had some brilliant people start in 2015 but Dan’s commitment, work ethic and general attitude made him the standout candidate. It was ultimately a unanimous decision for the award. I have no doubt Dan will be getting many others over his career with us.”

Chorley sheet metal firm crafts next generation of engineers 

A Whittle-le-Woods sheet metal firm is investing in Apprentices to guarantee its next generation of skilled workers.

CSM Sheet Metal Ltd designs and creates bespoke metalwork solutions and has recently won a contract with McDonalds restaurants to create upwards of 600 self-service kiosks to be situated in franchises across the UK.

To support the business’ growth and continuity plans, CSM employs two Apprentices who are completing their Level 2 NVQ in Engineering via Runshaw. Jack Piercy, 17, and Oliver Thorpe, 16, both began working at CSM in November 2015 after leaving school.

CSM’s founder and owner, Paul King, is no stranger to Apprenticeship frameworks: “I started as an Apprentice myself and worked my way up to being a Structural Engineer. I set up the business 24 years ago and now we have 85 staff so I know what can be achieved. We have established ourselves as a niche fabricator and now have high-profile clients such as McDonalds.”

Having employed Apprentices for a number of years, Paul believes Jack and Oliver will contribute greatly to the business. “I know they will both be a great asset for us here and continue to grow and learn within the company. We will support them with any further qualifications as they progress with us. It’s great to see a shift in trends back to hands-on learning as a few years ago, everyone was wanting to go on to University. It’s really comforting to see a renewed interest in engineering, especially in Lancashire as we have such a prestigious manufacturing history. I’m confident that the new SEIC building at Runshaw will bolster the Engineering learning in the county.”

This is the first time that CSM has used Runshaw College to provide their Apprentices and training, and Paul has seen a vast improvement: “We normally only take one Apprentice a year but through Runshaw the calibre of the applicants was so high that we took two. We have already given both Jack and Oliver a pay increase as they have done so well. With time they will definitely move on to managerial and design roles.”